Youth rowers from across the Southeast will compete for regional honors at Lake Lanier Olympic Park next May. The venue continues to welcome world-class athletes and competitions more than 25 years after it hosted the 1996 Summer Games.
Six regional youth championships will take place in the Central, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast on the same weekend of May 13-14. They are qualifiers for the USRowing Youth National Championships June 8-11 in Sarasota, Fla.
The event marks a return to the championship rotation for the Lake Lanier venue. The six youth regional events will allow closer access to young paddlers across the country.
“Reconnecting with USRowing will not only help the organization achieve its mission of breathing new life into summer competition, it will play an important role to help Gainesville and Lake Lanier be catalysts for that change,” said Robyn Lunch, director of tourism for the city. “It is exciting for us to once again host a youth rowing event of this caliber.”
Officials estimate that the event will bring in more than 1,300 athletes and have a $750,000 economic impact to benefit local businesses and hoteliers and those providing goods and services.
“The City of Gainesville and the Gainesville Sports Alliance have continued to invest in the venue and it is drawing national attention,” Lynch said. “With the newly renovated boathouse slated for completion in spring 2024, we will be well-positioned to stage even more world-class athletes in a facility that will be among the best in the world.”
The park has long been a training site for teams from across the nation who come South to train in milder winters. From January to early April 2023, officials anticipate more than 18-20 collegiate teams will come to Gainesville from such places as Notre Dame, Michigan and Virginia.
Additionally, events like September’s Atlanta Hong Kong Dragon Festival, the John Ferriss Regatta and the American Youth Cup keep Gainesville and Lake Lanier at the forefront of both competitive sports.
To learn more about Lake Lanier Olympic Park and the Greater Gainesville Sports Alliance, visit exploregainesville.org.
Photo: file photo